Monday, July 01, 2013


I, along with the rest of the country, am heartbroken. Last night, when the news broke, before I even knew the story, the tears were flowing. I could not bring myself to think about the hell those seconds must have been. I still can't. But, when the word came down they were a hotshot crew, that made those seconds somehow worse. How bad must it have been to take out all but one of a team of hotshots? I can't...

While I don't think I ever met any of these particular 19 men who died in the Arizona fires, I have met them. In Alaska. In California. In Washington.

They are young. They are strong. They are skilled and well, well trained. By the time they are known as Hotshots, they deserve it. They are the best at what they do. Period. Here's the thing ~ they are also good guys. Don't misunderstand ~ I know ground pounders who are assholes. The ones with the chips on their shoulders who think they are all that. The ones who don't shower for the whole season, because they enjoy the cringes of everyone else in the mess when their team walks in. The ones who roll their eyes at the grateful towns and mock the praises behind their backs.

By the time you make a hotshot team, though, you've outgrown that kind of bullshit. You've grown up. You've learned some humility. Some compassion. Some kindness.

I don't know if I ever shared a table, or a mess, or a bench, with any of these guys. Maybe I did, but maybe not. Still, I know them. And I grieve for them.

Angels and ministers of grace defend thee...

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Ian Lidster said...

Very touching and I feel the same way. You should read Fire on the Mountain by John MacLean. Concerns almost the same hotshot scenario from an awful Colorado fire a few years ago, and focuses on the Prineville Nine especially. In that case I believe a total of 14 hotshots lost their lives in exactly the same way.

BostonPobble said...

Ian ~ Thank you. Every season, someone fighting the fires doesn't go home. Sometimes they garner national attention, but sometimes not. I find it sad that we only really pay attention when the loss of life gets high. *sigh*